The Poetic Machine
Anyone who knows me personally and who has had the pleasure of working with and around me over the years knows that I am forever preaching the benefits of meticulous planning. Train your team members to such a degree that they have a machine-like ability to give any presentation about any product or service you offer to any customer at any time.
This takes a tremendous amount of effort on your part. However, the results are well worth it; steady and consistent, higher-than-typical, ticket averages, a higher percentage of happy customers and increasing car counts.
If your technicians are fumbling around verbally and mentally interacting with your customers, then your customers are not going to have the confidence level that you want, and it might discourage them from taking the advice that your techs are presenting to them.
You and your techs need to be prepared to answer any questions that arise during the workday. In addition, you need to be able to answer your techs correctly and with confidence.
Of course, no one can know everything. Unfortunately, some technicians think that they must appear to be the authority on anything that a customer may ask them. These techs tend to bluff their way through a tough question with quasi-technical babble and other tricks to try to make themselves appear all-knowing to your customers. If this happens, most customers may not know exactly what it is that is incorrect, but they will be suspicious. As a result, the customer will be unconfident in the tech’s professional opinion.
Your technicians should be continually coached to never make up facts about products or services, and you should be vigilant in listening to what they are actually telling your customers about the products and services you offer.
Teach them that it is acceptable to not know the answer to every question. If they get a question they don’t know the answer to during the day, simply seek out someone in the shop who will know more. If no one in your shop has the correct answer, make a note to find out before the next business day and then find out the answer!
Customers ask a variety of simple questions that we take for granted every day. Here are a few that I am surprised still stump some veterans of the quick-lube profession:
- “What is the difference between 5W-20 and 10W-30 oil?”
- “What does the ‘W’ mean?”
- “What does a PCV valve do?”
- “How come you don’t change the filter in my transmission when you flush it out?”
- “Do I have to use dexos-labeled oil in my car?”
- “I drive 10,000 miles between oil changes as my owners manual says to. Why am I burning so much oil?”
There are many, many more of these all-too-common questions that customers ask about during any typical day in a lube shop. Often times they get such convoluted answers that they leave more confused than before.
When these questions arise and there is a break in the action, gather your team members and conduct a quick and impromptu training session to explain what the answer is to the particular question that was posed. Next, explain how you want them to answer similar inquiries in the future.